Name: Making the bed.
Age: Almost as old as lying in it.
Appearance: Taut sheets, hospital corners, smoothed pillow cases, nice straight duvet.
Are you telling me to make my bed? The current guidelines on best practice are conflicting.
What does that mean? Some people say you should, others say you shouldn’t bother.
Who’s in the make-your-bed camp? Your mum, most drill sergeants, Jordan Peterson.
Jordan Peterson? The meat-only-eating Canadian philosopher? His book 12 Rules for Life implies that a tidy bedroom lays the foundation for a well-ordered psyche.
Who’s in the lazy camp? TikTok, basically.
I don’t take advice from TikTok. Well, a staggering amount of people do. A single post insisting you shouldn’t make your bed has been viewed more than 2.7m times.
Having said that, I’m susceptible to the notion of ignoring common household chores. The post is one of many offering the same argument.
What is the nature of that argument? It’s to do with dust mites.
Dust mites? We routinely share our beds with up to 1.5 million of these microscopic creatures, and making your bed traps in moisture, creating an ideal environment for them to breed.
What else do they get up to? They feed off dead skin cells and produce allergens that can trigger asthma.
Forget about making my bed; I think I’m going to stop sleeping in it. According to TikTok, an unmade bed allows air and sunlight to kill off dust mites.
Is any of this true? Dust mites are certainly real, and the TikTokers all seem to be referencing 2005 research from Kingston University, suggesting that leaving a bed unmade may cause mites to dehydrate and die.
Great, so I’ll just sleep on their tiny dead bodies. Not everyone agreed anyway. “Most homes in the UK are sufficiently humid for the mites to do well,” said the allergy expert Prof Andrew Wardlaw. “I find it hard to believe that simply not making your bed would have any impact on the overall humidity.”
As usual, we’re doomed either way. More practically, experts suggest you wash your bedding once a week, at a temperature of at least 60C.
Fine, I’ll do that. And you should also wash your pillows – not just the cases, the actual pillows – every four to six months.
You start by telling me lazy is good, and you end up giving me more chores. That’s life.
Do say: “I just thought I’d let it air out a bit, Sarge.”
Don’t say: “Goodnight moon, goodnight light, goodnight microscopic mite.”